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France: “Monsieur Normal” is fumbling with his budgets and his babes …

  • January 15th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Hollande-conf-de-presse-mPresident Francois Hollande faced the question, 14.1.13, about his hapless sex scandal involving an actress and political supporter, at the traditional start-of-year media conference in Paris.

In coverage from the event – in a grand hall with some 500 journalists, the President flanked by Ministers and flags- the affair swamped somewhat urgent economic news about his plans for stimulus and for dealing with revenue problems in a slow economy.

CAUGHT ON CANDID CAMERA

Gayet JulieThe preceding week had seen the emerge of a photographic record in the celebrity paper Closer of his evening visits to actor Julie Gayet, 41 (picture), who’d been in some of his political campaign advertisements.

The not-too-charismatic Mr Hollande, 59, was seen wearing a helmet, on the back of a motor scooter driven by a security man, taking him around the corner from his residence to a flat where he would spend the night; his guards delivering a bag of croissants in the morning.

REACTIONS

All great sport, of course: opinion polls had people predictably shrugging their shoulders or laughing their heads off. (You can get an animated web game putt-putting him around the streets on the scooter).

What would Segolene Royale be thinking, the fierce political lady, his former long-term partner and mother of the couple’s four children, herself an erstwhile Socialist Party candidate for the presidency? See EUAustralia Online: Election uncertainties in France, 20.4.07; A weekend of voting and tennis, 11.6.07.

Rather serious was the response to the suddenly public affair, of the man’s partner, Valérie Trierweiler, 48, herself a journalist, Sorbonne politics graduate, and former television talk-show host; taken to hospital, said to be feeling down and in shock.

MEDIA FESTIVAL

Given the extent of journalistic interest the scandal became well-embroidered.

The Americans wanted to know if Mr Hollande would be bringing his “bride” on a forthcoming visit to Washington, (and perhaps which one might that be).

One of the British tabloids wanted to know if the new girlfriend had a bump (pregnant).

It all called to mind that old devil Francois Mitterrand with his female companions; Nicolas Sarkozy’s divorce and then marriage with Carla Bruni, and the 2011 crash of Dominique Srauss-Kahn, presidential hopeful, over his encounter with a New York chamber maid. See EUAustralia Online: Paris nuptials, 3.2.08; The Strauss-kahn courtcase turn-around …, 4.7.11.

The apartment, scene of the presidential visits this time, received a going-over, especially from the security angle, firstly over said links in the ownership or letting of it to Corsican criminals. The nominal tenant, married to a woman friend of Ms Gayet, was talking about suing the news media over that.

A suggestion was made that Mr Hollande (picture, below) may have stepped out of the apartment for a walk. That would not be unprecedented, Mr Mitterrand in particular once known for his incognito rambles about the capital, but it brought on the observation that such activity needs proper setting-up. All sorts of sinister people would like to catch the President of France unguarded out on the street.

GETTING ON WITH STATE BUSINESS?

hollande-francois-2Probably somewhat distracted if not mortified by all this, not least in light of his already extremely low opinion poll ratings, the head of state has to supervise the government.

He said on Tuesday he found a story of the day a great intrusion on privacy; he would speak about it at a later time

“President François Hollande detailed his plans to revive France’s flagging economy at a key press conference on Tuesday, but spent much of the time deflecting questions about his private life”, said the news service, France 24.

He’d come into office with a pledge to ease up on austerity budgeting, find additional revenue and obtain growth opportunities through Europe-wide economic programs.

After extending the top tax level to 75%, affecting millionaire incomes, (see EUAustralia Online, France Vote: Hollande party consolidates, 15.6.12; Putin’s passport offer to Gerard Depardieu…, 4.1.13), on Tuesday he was outlining payroll tax relief for business, and some proposed new cross-border initiatives.

Reuters got clear of the Closer agenda to summarise:

“President Francois Hollande brushed aside questions on Tuesday about an alleged affair with an actress as he announced reforms to ease the tax burden on business, reduce labour costs and cut public spending to revive France’s stagnant economy.

“He also called for France and Germany to harmonise corporate taxation and create a joint venture to help manage the transition to renewable energy, modelled on successful European planemaker Airbus.”

Reference

Emeline Cazi, Gayet-Hollande: interrogations autour de l’appartement (Questions about the apartment), Le Monde, Paris, 12.1.14.

France 24, Paris, As it happened: Hollande faces the press, 14.1.14.     http://www.france24.com/en/20140114-live-french-president-francois-hollandes-press-conference/, (15.1.14).

Mark John, French President Francois Hollande quiet about private life after affair scandal, Reuters, London, 14.1.14. http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/14/french-president-francois-hollande-to-talk-private-life-after-affair-scandal, (15.1.14).

Le Monde, Paris, L’affaire qui destabilize Francois Hollande (The affair destabilising Hollande), 14.1.14. www.lemonde,fr, (15.1.14).

Catherine Mayer, Why François Hollande’s personal life is a public matter, Time-World, NY, 14.1.14. http://world.time.com/2014/01/13/why-francois-hollandes-personal-life-is-a-public-matter/, (15.1.14).

The Times, London, (Online Web Log), How it happened: Francois Hollande press conference, 14.1.14. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article3975005.ece, (15.1.14).

Pictures wikipedia

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